Since middle school, people have always said, “how are you always so happy all the time?” I used to wonder if happiness was some foreign personality trait that most people didn’t have. I often didn’t understand why this was the immediate reaction I got from everyone I met, but with time came a realization that not everyone was naturally joyful or resilient. What people didn’t know, because I deliberately never shared it, was that I grew up forced to become very resilient and mature from a young age. I went through a lot of unneeded stress as a child and through my early twenties. Being the parental figure emotionally in my household was not easy for me and while to many, that may cause bitterness or a “woe is me” outlook, I always viewed it as a life lesson my spirit was given and I never carried childhood resentment for the upbringing I had. I generally view life in a positive light and always held a firm belief that what you think, you create. But with my peers often wondering why I was so “happy”, I was immediately intrigued with the idea of joy and why some people seem to be happier than others.
This is what I have come to learn so far.
Let it go
When bad feelings come up, it’s best to let the feeling pass with “infinite grace”. Not judging the icky feeling such as anger, jealousy, spite, etc but acknowledging it and letting it go. It’s important to not be attached to our feelings, the good and the bad, as they are all fleeting and impermanent. Once those temporary feelings go, we can then find intentional joy from our values.
Having joy comes from living from your values
We find joy and fullfillment from living our values, as opposed to the temporary goodness that money, material possessions, job rank and success gives us. Why are you choosing to do the thing you do? For example, picking a career or job is one of the most important choices you can make as spending the majority of your time doing something you love will bring happiness. Choosing a job you don’t enjoy but succumb to because it pays your mortgage will bring you the opposite: unhappiness, resentment and depression. For me, my values are rooted in freedom, courage, and compassion. By actively choosing to take action on those values that bring me happiness eg. a career that gives me creative freedom and flexibility, choosing to be risk-taking and bold in my pursuits, I will then feel aligned with my intuition and feel more fulfillment with my life.
Taking five minutes out of your day to write a list of the few things you’re grateful for works wonders. I start every morning with a quick jot of reasons I am grateful and keep a small gratitude journal right on my night stand ready for the next day. It starts my day in a positive mindset, and I can always feel it for the rest of the day. When you’re feeling stressed or sad during the day, think back to one of those items on the list.
Listening to joyful people
There have been so many times in the past few years when I had a really rough day and found joy from having a happy chat with my Uber driver. Whether it’s your neighbor or chatting on the phone with an enthusiastic friend, take a few minutes to be around happy people. Positive people are infectious. When you talk or listen to people who radiate joy, it will unconsciously be reciprocated onto you.
It’s the little things
I take deliberate and intentional steps to lift my spirits when I’m not in alignment. Whether it’s wearing a soft, cozy sweater or wearing some of my favorite jewelry pieces to get me in a happy mood in the morning, it really can be as simple as that! Small things like smelling the lotion on my hands or coloring on the couch while watching a Netflix documentary instantly lifts my mood up, even if just by a little. I love hot cocoa strolls in my neighborhood, walking dogs, and listening to Beyonce. These things bring me joy and it puts me in a higher alignment to be open and accepting of even more positive and joyful things.
I hope these little tips help you find and keep joy in your day-to-day life! What are some ways you find joy? I’d love to experiment with them!